Smiling in the Slaughterhouse

Gorey depictions of racism and xenophobia.

No, don’t ask me to smile in the slaughterhouse,
kindest grin reflecting on the blade as it sinks
down my neck, through my throat, through my muscles and spine;
blood splattering the walls as you beg me to sing.

Save the smiles and the memories from yesterday
and put on your new glasses so you can see clear
that your kindest affections were all shallow and fake,
for you wish that my family drowns in the sea.

When you say “it’s not you who I’m talking about
but the Poles, and the Czech, and the Muslims and P*ks”,
it just feels even more disturbing to find out
you categorise people using different ranks.

Ranks so voluble, soluble, flammable, foul-
-smelling, horrible, and mutating according to the nuclear
clock, its hands manually moved by those who want
to dictate who to hate, and you fall for the trap, you don’t

question intentions, do not offer protection,
you don’t search for real clues and your rage sways towards
anyone but the real traitors and great masturbators.
You don’t look at the finger, but at what it’s pointing at.

And it’s pointing at me, at them, at everyone,
he laughs at you in secret. Though you can hear him roar,
you pretend it’s an earthquake caused by vessels in hoards
that cannot simply wait to deflate at the shore.

You can’t go have a drink with a corpse you just stabbed
and you can’t kiss and punch at the same bloody time.
Can’t give someone a ride while your car drags away
after you obliged them to leave and don’t dare to come back.

I repeat, don’t ask me to smile in the slaughterhouse,
please stop holding my hand as you’re holding the knife.
Hearing my vertebrae crush after you behead me,
you may wonder if, actually, you have no spine.

Originally published on Do Something Zine, edited by Selina Lock for Hope Not Hate, 2016.